Huascarán Norte panorama, from Garganta

Whether you want to climb Huascarán Sur or Norte, the normal route is the same all the way to Garganta, the 6010m col between the two. The best views of the summit route to Norte are to be had when climbing Sur. This panorama is still on Garganta itself, before it gets steeper on Sur.

For the record, Norte is actually NW of Sur, so we're looking at the SE face of Norte here.

To a large extent, the normal route to Norte follows the south ridge, on the left in this photo. First order of business is to get up to the ridge. On the far left, that looks pretty difficult. My first time here, a month earlier, I looked at it, and decided to go up the snow field just left of center, leading up to the shoulder, and look for a way across the crevasse when I would get there.
Now, what looks easy from a distance, can be quite different up close, and the seemingly small crevasse was a big bergschrund with a short but near-vertical ice wall on the other side. There was no way across.

I followed the bergschrund to the left. It didn't get any smaller, and the ice wall got higher and higher, but, finally, far to the left, and also a bit lower, I found a place to cross - and traces of an old trail - and made my way up a steep section and onto the south ridge. As it turned out, that was the crux of the climb.

Higher up, I encountered no more route finding problems. I simply followed the ridge. There were a few more steepish sections, and a couple of areas that looked suspicious - I thought there might be some crevasses - so I poked my ice tools in the snow ahead of me and went real slow.

A month later, it was nice to look back once more, to see what I had done.

8 August 2011.


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